1951 Buick LeSabre Concept
2012 Carlisle Blue Concept
2011 Jake Edition Concept
2011 Z06-X Concept
2009 Stingray Concept
2005 SEMA Z51 Concept
2005 SEMA Street Concept
2002 Moray Concept
2002 White Shark Concept
2001 Tiger Shark Concept
1993 CERV IV b Concept
1992 CERV IV a Concept
1992 Sting Ray III Concept
1991 ZR-1 Spyder
1991 ZR-1 Snake Skinner Concept
1990 Cerv III Concept
1990 Bertone Nivola Concept
1990 ZR-12 Concept
1989 ZR-2 Concept
1989 DR-1 Concept
1986 EX-4607
1986 Indy Concept
1984 Bertone Ramarro Concept
1984 C4 Concepts
1980 Tubro Concept
1979 Turbo Concept
1977 Aero-Vette Concept
1973 XP-895 Concept
1973 XP-897 Concept
1973 XP-898 Concept
1973 XP-882 4-Rotor Concept
1970 XP-882 Mid-Engined Concept
1970 Scirocco Showcar
1969 Manta Ray Concept
1969 Astro III Concept
1968 Astro-Vette Concept
1968 Astro II Concept
1967 Astro I Concept
1966 Mid Engine Concept
1965 Mako Shark II Concept
1964 XP-833 Banshee Concept
1964 XP-819 Rear Engine Concept
1964 GS-II Concept
1964 CERV II Concept
1964 Update Concept
1964 World's Fair Concept
1963 Corvette Rodine Concept
1963 Wedge Concept
1962 XP-720 Concept
1962 XP-720 2+2 Concept
1961 Mako Shark Concept
1959 CERV I Concept
1959 Sting Ray Concept
1958 XP-700 Concept
1957 Corvette SS Show Car Concept
1957 XP-64 Corvette SS Concept
1957 XP-84 Q Concept
1956 Impalla Concept
1956 SR2 Lookalike
1956 SR-2 Concept
1955 Biscayne Concept
1955 LeSalle II Concept
1955 EX-87
1954 Corvette Corvair Concept
1954 Hardtop Concept
1954 Styling Concept
1954 Nomad Concept
1952 XP-122 Concept
1951 Buick LeSabre Concept


One of the most famous concept cars was the 1951 Buick LeSabre. Designed by General Motors' chief stylist Harley J. Earl's studio with styling cues from jet fighter planes and used by him for years as an everyday driver, the LeSabre offered a preview of the aircraft styling that would follow in the '50s. The LeSabre contained such technological features as a dual gasoline and alcohol fuel system and a moisture sensor which would raise the convertible top if it began raining when the owner was away from the car.

On September of 1951, Harley Earl takes the Le Sabre dream car to the Watkins Glen sports car race. Earl is impressed by the small European sports cars, and decides to begin designing a new American sports car. In November of that same year, the Parts Fabrication group within GM Engineering Staff begins setting up a plastic department in Detroit.

Post World War II, senior figures at General Motors saw American GI’s returning from Europe with souvenirs: relatively lightweight, nimble two-seater sports cars. Design chief Harley Earl had a particular admiration for the Jaguar XK120, and aimed to create an all-American alternative. Although initially unsure which GM brand should market such a vehicle, he shared with Chief Engineer Ed Cole a desire to rejuvenate the image of Chevrolet, then seen as somewhat staid and unimaginative.
In March of 1952, Naugatuck Chemical sales executive Earl Ebers shows the Alembic I to General Motors in Detroit, Michigan. Harvey Earl is impressed with the shape of the car, and the possibilities of glass-reinforced plastic. This encourages him to speed-up his own sports car work.

On June 2, General Motors executives are formally presented with Harley Earl's proposal for a two-seater sports car. General Motors president Charles Wilson and Chevrolet general manager Thomas Keating approve completing a prototype for the 1953 Motorama. The project is code-named "Opel Sports Car". Chevrolet's director of research and development, Maurice Olley, creates a sketch for the new sports car frame, showing locations of radiator, wheels, and body mount points. On July 3, General Motors and Chevrolet management teams initiate work orders for two Motorama fiberglass bodies of the sports car, one test body, and two full-size passenger cars for development and testing of the sports car drivetrain. The Opel project sports car prototype is named Corvette, after a light fast type of World War II warship. The name was suggested by Myron Scott, employee of Campbell-Ewald, Chevrolet's advertising agency. Strong consideration had been given to naming the car “Corvair”. Chevrolet executives wanted a “C” word, and rejected 1500 suggestions.

In the end of 1952, a boot-legged picture of GM's proposed sports car is taken to Ford's styling studio. Staff there have already produced several drawings and renderings of their own sports car prototype: the Thunderbird will emerge in early 1954.

Harley Earl's Untold Corvette Story

VIDEO: Vintage footage of the 1951 Buick LeSabre Concept

Corvette Concepts is not associated with GM or Chevrolet Motors Division
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